Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling - When To Call a Doctor
Call911or other emergency services right away if:
You have signs of severe dehydration. These
include little or no urine; sunken eyes, no tears, and a dry mouth and tongue;
fast breathing and heartbeat; feeling very dizzy or lightheaded; and not
feeling or acting alert.
You think you may have food poisoning
from a canned food and you have symptoms of botulism (blurred or double vision,
trouble swallowing or breathing, and muscle weakness).
Most cases of food poisoning are mild, lasting from one to three days. Since many people do not seek medical care, their food poisoning is not diagnosed.
Though your symptoms may sound suspicious, the only way to know for sure if you have food poisoning is to test the offending food or check the stool, blood, or vomit.
Chemical or toxin food poisoning can usually be diagnosed by a description of symptoms and by testing food potentially responsible for the poisoning.
You have symptoms of mild dehydration (dry
mouth, dark urine, not much urine) that get worse even with home treatment.
You have a fever.
You aren't feeling better after 1
week of home treatment.
If you think you have eaten contaminated food, your local
Poison Control Center can answer questions and provide information on what to
do next. Poison Control Centers are usually listed with other emergency numbers
in your telephone book.
Children, pregnant women, and people with
long-lasting (chronic) conditions, such as
diabetes, are more likely to have severe dehydration
and should be watched closely for symptoms.
Watchful waiting is a period of time during
which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition
without using medical treatment.
Watchful waiting may be appropriate if you
have diarrhea, stomachcramps, and other symptoms of stomach flu (gastroenteritis). Most people recover from these
gastrointestinal illnesses at home in several days without medical treatment.
Likewise, some cases of bacterial food poisoning are mild and pass in several
days. But if diarrhea is severe or lasts longer than a week, call your
doctor for advice.
Who to see
Health professionals who are able to diagnose and treat food